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Common Mistakes in Florida Wrongful Death Cases

a family mourns a wrongful death in Miami, FL

You may consider filing a wrongful death claim in Florida if your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence. A lawsuit can help you recover compensation for your loss, however, there are some common mistakes that can weaken your case. 

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we understand the emotional and financial burdens loved one’s death cases present. Our team of wrongful death lawyers has helped many through this difficult time. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to avoid common mistakes in wrongful death actions and increase your chances of a successful outcome. 

What Counts as Wrongful Death in Florida

According to Florida law, wrongful death is when someone’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional act causes the death of another person. It can happen in car accidents caused by impaired drivers, medical errors during surgeries, or fatal slip-and-fall accidents due to property’s poor maintenance. If preventable action by another party led to your loved one’s passing, then you may have sufficient grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. 

The law allows the closest family members to seek justice: spouses, children, and parents of the deceased person. In some cases, siblings or even other blood relatives can also file a claim. A successful lawsuit can hold a responsible party accountable and ease the financial burdens you face. This is a general explanation and specific circumstances can vary. That’s why consulting with wrongful death attorneys is recommended. 

Waiting Too Long to File a Claim

In these tragic situations, legal matters might be the last thing you want to focus on and it is absolutely understandable to want some time to grieve and process this immense loss. However, one common mistake we have seen in wrongful death cases is when families wait too long to file a claim. 

Florida law has its deadline, known as the statute of limitations, for filing wrongful death lawsuits, and it is two years from the date of the victim’s death. Missing this deadline can bar you from seeking compensation. That’s why we recommend to act on time. Start gathering evidence and building your case as soon as possible. 

Talking to the Insurance Company

At fault party’s insurance company might contact you, offering their condolences and expressing a willingness to discuss the situation. This might seem helpful at first, but our expert wrongful death lawyers strongly advise against speaking directly with the insurance company without legal representation. 

Remember that companies are for-profit businesses focused on minimizing payouts. They have experienced adjusters well-trained in communication tactics to gather information that could weaken your case. Anything you say could be used against you later. 

You are not obligated to speak with them without legal representation. We recommend letting a wrongful death lawyer take the lead in these conversations, protecting your rights and best interests throughout the process.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

Insurance companies will also offer an initial settlement, which might seem tempting. As it may feel like a way to move forward and ease some of the burden. However, we urge caution against accepting the initial offer without careful consideration. 

Their first offer often falls short of the true value of your wrongful death claim. The full impact of your loss is far beyond what insurance companies offer. There are lost wages, potential future care needs, emotional distress and the overall loss of companionship and support your loved one provided. 

Don’t be pressured into a quick settlement, a wrongful death attorney will calculate the full scope of your damages and negotiate with an insurance company. 

Speaking Publicly About the Case

Following a tragic loss, the urge to express your grief and seek support is human instinct. However, Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP strongly advises against publicly discussing the case details. 

Here’s why: Insurance companies and opposing attorneys often monitor everything you say even on social media to use that information against you. For example, a seemingly harmless post about your loved one’s activities might be misconstrued and used to argue they were somehow responsible for the accident. Similarly, expressing anger or frustration online could be used to portray you negatively, potentially impacting the settlement value of your case. 

Sharing details about the accident could also unintentionally jeopardize your case. You may inadvertently reveal crucial information that could be used by the other side to argue against liability. Even seemingly insignificant details could have legal implications.

We understand the desire to connect with others during this difficult time. Sharing memories of your loved one on social media can be a beautiful way to honor their life. However, when it comes to the legal aspects of your case, it’s best to maintain silence. Or let your wrongful death lawyer handle communication, and you can ensure that nothing you say unintentionally harms your case.

Going It Alone

Many families feel tempted to handle a wrongful death case on their own. Perhaps you believe it’ll save money or you simply want to take control during this difficult time.

Wrongful death cases involve intricate legal procedures, evidence collection, and negotiations with insurance companies. These processes require expertise and experience that a qualified attorney can provide. Here’s why having a lawyer on your side is critical:

  • Understanding the Law: Florida’s wrongful death statutes can be complex. An attorney can explain your legal rights and obligations, ensuring you meet deadlines and take the necessary steps to build a strong case.
  • Gathering Evidence: Building a solid case hinges on gathering evidence like police reports, medical records, and witness statements. A lawyer knows how to obtain this evidence effectively and strategically.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often try to offer lowball settlements. With their legal knowledge and negotiation skills, your lawyer can fight for the compensation you truly deserve.

We understand the emotional and financial hardships wrongful death cases bring. Don’t face this alone. Our Miami wrongful death attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP offer free consultations to discuss your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe us anything unless we win. Call us today at 305-371-2692 and let’s discuss your legal options.